It was the 1988 Holiday season in New York City. I was walking south on the east side of a very busy Fifth Avenue when I stopped suddenly, spellbound by the image of a huge Christmas tree filled with decorations of folded paper figures revolving in the windows of a Japan Airlines office. It was a life changing moment and soon after that late December afternoon I bought the first one of my now-large-collection of origami books: “Origami Omnibus” by Kunihiko Kasahara.
One of the first models I folded from this book was the llama on page 144 that is pictured above. It seems silly to me now, but for the next few years I hesitated to buy another origami book thinking I had to finish folding all the models in Kasahara’s book before getting another book.
Then one day I came across ‘Origami Plain and Simple’ by Robert Neale and Thomas Hull. This book really tickled my interest. After a lot of internal debate -remember, I hadn’t finished all the models in Kasahara’s book, I bought it.
What a liberation! All of a sudden I realized I didn’t have to complete all the models in one book before folding models in another.
Since that second acquisition I’ve been adding origami books to my collection on a regular basis, deeply appreciating how fortunate I am to live in a place where these books are accessible.
My personal rule is that if I like a book in whole or in part, even if there are only one or two models that interest me at first, I’ll buy it. My reasoning is that since most origami books go out of print relatively soon, never to be republished, the window of opportunity to get the book might be pretty narrow and opportunity doesn’t often knock twice.
Having a library of origami books fosters creativity and feeds the imagination. I visit the books on my bookshelf often, sometimes opening them at random to discover some great model that I’d missed otherwise. Also, I might see a photo of a beautiful model on the internet and realize that I have the book with the diagrams! Fun! Fun! Fun!
Lastly, buying origami books is a way of thanking the authors for drawing diagrams and making them available to us!
Visit this page to read short reviews on origami books for beginners, intermediate and advanced paper folders.